The Net: Dog: Chapter 1
A/N: A different ending to the tv show. What if Angela was lost after the battle at Praetorian Headquarters? For three years. And what if Elizabeth Marx was still wanted by the FBI, by Jacob's new boss? He would do anything, even risk losing his job with the CIC to find Angela. But can he bring back the real Angela from years of torture or is she fated to be Liz Marx for the rest of her life? WARNING: this is a tragedy. Angela may never be the same again, mentally, after what happens here. It's not pretty. Wrist slashing, rape, beatings, and other bad things are mentioned. You have been warned. If you don't want to read it, that's fine, you can stop here. Comments are appreciated. Constructive criticism is helpful for me as a writer, but flames are not. Thanks! And enjoy the story!
"We're putting you on an old case," Jacob remembered his boss saying as he walked down the sidewalk of the small town. "You've probably heard of her: Elizabeth Marx, the computer terrorist. She's still on the run from the police, pops up every now and again in some internet chat room and then disappears before anyone can trace her. However, with your computer skills, I'm hoping you can bring her in. Not only that, but I think you could be charming enough to entice her in willingly if need be."
It had been three years since he'd heard that name, since she'd disappeared. So many bodies had come out of that travel agency. So many without life. And even though Walter Cizelski had taken him in, given him a job working for the FBI, he wasn't allowed to see who any of the bodies belonged to. And no one had mentioned Angela at all. He couldn't see the case files because he'd been involved in the case personally. So whether she'd just disappeared or died Jacob didn't know, until Walter had brought up Liz Marx, unaware that the two were one and the same.
Jacob had been sending out coded messages for the past few months that only Angela could read. Only one response had told him she was alive. Nothing more. Yet someone was searching for Sorcerer. Had been for three years. The trail this person left, however, was not Angela's trail. Even if she was trying to hide from someone else, he would recognize her hand print on the searches. Though no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't decode them to determine who it was. Until now. At first the search beacon was strong with no tracks at all. But it was weakening over time, leading Jacob to this small rural town in the middle of Illinois that looked more like something out of an old western with Clint Eastwood. They didn't even have a police station, let alone a hospital or a fire house.
A quick flash of his badge in the country store had brought him some answers, even if they were strange.
"I haven't seen it, but they say it's evil! That it'll eat you in your sleep!" one elderly man said.
"When I said 'anything odd' I didn't mean ghost stories for children," the FBI Agent corrected.
"No! Tain't no ghost story!" a woman exclaimed. "They keep it chained up like a dog. So's it won't hurt no one."
"Up on the hill. But don't go up there! Please, Mister! It will kill you!"Children's stories. That's all it was. But he'd go up there and see for himself anyway. What he was looking for wasn't in this backwater town even if the codes had led him here.
News had spread fast about this strange man going to see the evil creature chained on the hill. Men, women, and children lined the streets as he walked past. The women crossed themselves and kept the children back, who stared up at him in awe.
"You're crazy," the men said. "You're gonna die up there and we ain't gonna come after ya if'n ya call for help."
Jacob only nodded and continued down the street towards the old dirt road leading up the hill. When he'd arrived at the top he found a large, well-kept stone mansion that looked so out of place from the western town belowBehind the mansion there was a large dog chained to a pole in the ground. From a distance it appeared to be curled up in a ball, enjoying a late-afternoon nap in the sun. Was this what the townspeople were so afraid of? Jacob let out a small laugh and turned to head back to town when a familiar voice caught his ear.
He turned to see someone yank on the chain. The dog slowly stood up. On two feet. Jacob stopped laughing and stared as he realized it was a woman. The man took the chain off the thick collar around her neck and attached a leash before they went inside. He was shocked out of his mind, unable to move. So this was what the locals were afraid of? She hadn't looked scary, but why chain her up if she wasn't?
He'd come here on business, searching for Elizabeth Marx. He'd also come for personal reasons, to find Angela Bennett. That had been a woman, he'd called her Elizabeth. That voice had been familiar too. But he couldn't place it.
"And who might you be, wandering this far from town?"
Jacob jumped clear out of his skin at the sudden voice and whipped around to see Mr. Olivier, once a higher-up in the Praetorian ranks. With trembling knees, Jacob thanked God none of them knew who he was.
"Didn't mean to scare you there," Mr. Olivier said, leaning on his cane.
He didn't seem overly evil just then, but he wasn't smiling either.
"No, no, it's ok," Jacob worked the puzzle in his mind. "I'm looking for work, actually."
"You are, are you?"
Jacob bit back the fear rising within him.
This man was supposed to be dead. Died at the home he'd been sent to in order to deal with his alcohol problems. And if he wasn't dead, then who else wasn't?
"What's your name?"
"Um, Jones Davey."
"Well, Jones, you just call me Mr. Olivier. Maybe we can work something out. What line of work are you interested in?"
"Anything really. My mom kicked me out and I've got nothing," he said, playing off of the fact that he still looked young enough to be a teenager.
"Ah, well then follow me, lad. We'll find ya something I'm sure."
Entering the mansion, Jacob saw a grand old place turned technological with hand print readers at nearly every door. In his mind he went over the ways to get around retinal scans and hand print readers. Mr. Olivier left him alone in a small room to talk to the higher-ups.
The place wreaked of Praetorians, no matter how old fashioned this room looked with its fireplace, couch, end table, and two matching chairs. He'd pushed his biggest fear to the back of his mind, too afraid to even think it, least it come true. But he knew it was. The Praetorians weren't dead by whatever luck they possessed and Angela hadn't been able to change her identity back. He'd found Elizabeth Marx and as much as he was glad he'd found her, he was also afraid for her. If they'd been keeping her this long chained like a dog...His Angel, treated like...He had to put those thoughts out of his mind. Elizabeth was here now, trapped and he was here to get her out. To bring Angela home.
He slipped his badge down his pants so that it wouldn't be found. These were the Praetorians and they would take no chances. The door opened and both Mr. White and Sean Trelawney came in followed by Mr. Olivier.
"Did you check him out?" Mr. White asked, looking back towards Sean.
"I found nothing."
Jacob was glad the alias he'd created for his last case was working quite well. All three men looked him over for a few seconds before he stood up and introduced himself.
"Hi, Jones Davey. And you are?" he stuck out his hand.
"Mr. White, Mr. Trelawney, and you've already met Mr. Olivier." The Praetorian leader did not return the handshake. "Our janitor just quit. You take the job and you get a room. Small. But you won't need much. And you won't be able to leave the grounds. Ever. You will have no contact outside and whatever you see here stays here. Got it?"
"I got it and I'm in."
Mr. White turned to Sean, "pat him down and show him what to do."
Trelawney nodded as the other two left the room. "You look familiar," Sean said as Jacob allowed him to search for weapons.
"I don't know why cause I've certainly never seen you before," Jacob said, getting an odd sensation from having his arch enemy pat him down. The enemy he hadn't seen in three years and had not expected to see ever again. How the hell were they all still alive?! "Though I've been told I have a memorable face."
Once pronounced clean, Sean lead him out of the room. The place was huge with a maze of hallways and rooms. The walls were a dark wood paneling, the furniture was all dark wood, and any thing else was a dark green. Dark, dark, dark. It was all dark.
"So, what group is this? What's your name? Who do you belong to?" Jacob asked.
Sean looked rather annoyed at having been given this chore as he turned and said "We're an elite government agency. That's all you need to know."
"Ah, the secrecy bit. I get it."
Sean showed him his room which was so tiny it could only hold a twin bed and a night stand. Only slightly bigger than a closet.
"I certainly hope you're not claustrophobic," Sean grinned.
After showing him where all the bathrooms and livingrooms were that he'd have to clean Sean took him up to the third floor.
"Whatever you see here, stays here. Got it?" Jacob nodded as Sean pointed towards two closed doors at one end of the wide hallway. "And you do not, I repeat, DO NOT go through those doors. You do, and you're dead."
"Um, yeah, got it."
"The only time you ever come up here is to clean out the dog's cage."
"Yes. Over here."
Sean moved a painting of flowers to reveal a small red button high up on the wall. Pushing that button, a bit of dark wood paneling rose to reveal a jail cell-like door leading into a small room, smaller than his. A thin, old pillow and two old blankets covered the floor. The back wall was already lifted to reveal a tile floor and what looked like a toilet from Jacob's vantage point.
The sound of a long electric shock and someone moaning made the FBI agent turn towards the double doors as they slammed open against the walls. A woman was on her knees. Mr. White was behind her and he pushed her out into the hall. She fell forward and Jacob was able to see a thick metal collar around her neck.
"Get back to your room!"
Jacob gasped as she stumbled to her feet. Angel! She was so thin and her neck was red and raw where the collar had dug into her skin. As she scrambled towards him and the dog's kennel he saw her eyes no longer bright and welcoming but clouded over, showing a person who'd shut down and shut everyone out.
Sean grabbed Jacob's shoulder and pulled him away as he pressed the red button again. The bars rose into the wall and she slipped into the kennel.
"Wait! She's the dog?!"
"You didn't see that Davey."
"I need an explanation here!"
"She has a mental disorder. She identifies more with the dogs than us humans. Now, you'll want to start at the first floor and work your way up when you clean," Sean said, steering Jacob towards the stairs.
That night Jacob lay in his bed, staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep. Flashes of Angela so thin he could see her ribs through her soiled nightgown came flying at him whenever he attempted to close his eyes, and refused to go away. It made him sick to his stomach just thinking of what they had done to her and he didn't think it would ever go away, the sickness, the pictures, the thoughts. For the rest of his life he would remember what they did to her, how they treated her. Even if he was able to get her away from here and to safety. He would always remember, and he would always hate them for it. Always.